Death toll rises in London tower block fire

Hauwa Abubakar, UK

Twelve people have been confirmed dead following a huge fire outbreak in the Grenfell Tower residential block in Kensington London.

Met Police said on Thursday that death toll could rise as 18 people were in critical condition. Search is still being carried out within the building, as firefighters worked to put out the blaze all through the night.

They said some areas in the building are hard to reach and  it would be a slow and difficult process to find any more victims.

“This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond 12,” Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police Said.

Some people are still reported missing while more than 70 were taken to six hospitals.

Reports say 40 fire engines and about 200 firefighters fought the blaze in an operation that lasted for 24 hours.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established but Prime Minister Theresa May promised proper investigation would be carried out.

Community support
Volunteers and people from the community have been donating clothes and food items to victims.

Many families were lodged in emergency accommodation while others stayed in a sports and fitness center used as a place of refuge following the incident.

The local council said 44 households put in emergency accommodation with priority given to families with young children, elderly and vulnerable residents.

Eyewitnesses said the fire grew fast and desperate residences could be seen screaming from help through their windows. Some mothers threw their babies out the window to be caught by people who were around to help, and many others who could not go down the stairs jumped from top floors of the building.

Meanwhile, report says more than £1m has been raised for victims of the fire.

An appeal on JustGiving has so far raised at least £286,000 while another has reached more than £430,000.

The London Evening Standard also launched an appeal on Wednesday and has so far raised more than £282,000. 

Fire safety
Residents said they had raised concerns about the fire security measures in the building.

They added that no fire alarm went off when the fire broke out and many residents were fast asleep when the fire started at midnight.

Questions about safety measures in the building would constitute investigations.

Confidence Okwuchi